2023 Southern Africa Edition

In 2023, 25 entrepreneurs/intrapreneurs from Southern Africa will join the Biodiversity Partners Program and go on a transformative learning journey to support them in realising their pro-nature businesses or projects.

AFD Campus and the Sustainability Institute have renewed their partnership in 2023 to support actions in favour of biodiversity.

What the programme

2 people working together during the program, positioning pieces on a board
Zoom Workshop
2 people working together during the program, standing and smiling

In this programme you will have access to theoretical and practical resources, to experts and to a regional network of changemakers.

Being part of the BiPP will allow you to develop your innovative pro-nature project further, widen your knowledge and leadership on biodiversity, benefit from the support of a community of peers, increase your impact and alignment.

Southern Africa has a long history of biodiversity protection and community-based natural resources management.

Its people are passionate about nature and understand the linkages between our health and that of our ecosystems.

The Biodiversity Partners Program is committed to supporting changemakers in the region develop sustainable pro-nature businesses or projects.

Who is it for ?



You work in an organisation (company, institution, etc.) even if the organisation's focus is not on biodiversity or conservation.


You develop or support (a) project(s) that will have an impact on biodiversity, is innovative, can be scaled or replicated.


The project(s) supported has/have a demonstrated positive impact on biodiversity in Southern Africa.



You have created an organization (company, NGO, etc.) with a legal structure and a minimum of 6 months of activity.


Your project has impacts on biodiversity, is innovative, can be scaled or replicated.


Your project is looking at economic viability to maintain impacts created.


The program is opened for residents of :

Angola Botswana
Malawi Mozambique
South Africa
Zambia Zimbabwe

The programme

The BiPP comprises four phases, over seven months and is designed to accommodate working professionals with evening sessions. It is predominantly conducted online with a sponsored in-person session in South Africa.

Ecological transition

This stage gives you the opportunity to gain strong knowledge on :

Module 1 : Biodiversity
Module 2 : Deep ecology
Module 3 : Complexity theory and systems thinking
Module 4 : Indigenous knowledge systems

24 April to 9 June 2023

Integrating business concepts

This phase helps you to refine your business/project concept in preparation for the business sprint event.

Module 5 : Communications (business identity and storytelling)
Module 6 : Accessing funding, suitable partnerships and proposal writing

19 June to 7 July

Experiential learning challenge

This in-person phase focuses on situating your business/project as a response to a challenge by working through a business design sprint. It includes the following:

In-nature immersive experience
Business design sprint
Module 7: Leadership

24 July to 31 July 2023

Pitch readiness

This phase helps you to prepare for the pitch event. It includes a dry run with colleagues before the open pitches at the end of the programme.

Module 8 : Pitch readiness

24 August to 6 October 2023
The program also foresees an immersive session in nature.



Our whole society is embedded in nature, but we seem to have lost contact with the vital advantages it provides. This module presents ecosystem services and how they can be a huge contributor to reconcile human needs and biodiversity considerations, and how to consider the value of what nature brings to us.

Deep ecology


Developing a deep relationship with the living beings 

Deep ecology is a powerful tool to feel the connections between us and the rest of life on earth. Its philosophy is based on the intrinsic value of every living being and the need of meaningfulness beyond economic valuation. From the recognition to the acceptance of the magnitude of the human-nature links, deep ecology is a journey toward gratitude and action.

« We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect ».

- Aldo Leopold

Complexity and systems thinking


In a world full of uncertainty, knowing how to untangle the complexity due to economic, environmental and social events helps focus on what can be essential. This module explores the human-nature interactions from a systems thinking perspective in order to fuel our capacity of adaptation and decision. 

Indigenous knowledge SYSTEMS


Reappropriation of indigenous knowledge that made humans « custodians of the earth » is a strong step to create a peaceful environment for sustainable futures. This module intends to explore African indigenous ecology as a resource for today’s challenges.



Communication is an empowering medium for both the communicator and their audience. The stories that we tell shape the world. This module focuses on how to link one’s story into those that foster wellbeing, collaboration, and co-creation. Using storytelling as a base, participants will begin to design their brand story, identity and material.


Accessing funding, finding partnerships and writing proposals

A combination of topics is covered to prepare participants for developing business models that speak to biodiversity and pro-nature innovation, and subsequently where to access finance and develop sustainable finance models. The course therefore also covers what is required to source and access appropriate funding in the sector aims to help participants see opportunities for collaborative partnerships.

In-nature immersion


This module aims to generate a meaningful understanding of the interconnectedness to the web of life, thus connecting all beings, allowing a renewed sense of connectedness, consciousness, identity, and responsibility. To also unlock a better understanding of the interconnectivity between ourselves, our ancestors and nature, and to remind the participants of indigenous/traditional wisdom in approaching environmental problems.

Immersion of a group in nature

BUsiness design sprint


With all the knowledge previously generated through Biodiversity Challenges, Indigenous Knowledge, Systems Thinking and Deep Ecology, the Design sprint is crucial to turn the reflection into action. The Business Sprint is a transformative step for project holders to refine, confront, and unpack their ideas, so as to increase their projects’ concrete impacts. 



Being a founder does not automatically translate into being a leader. It is therefore necessary to equip leaders of start-ups (business and projects) with the tools for effective leadership and team building. The session uses an ontological and neuroscience approach speaking to the participants way of being, interpreting and participating in life and exploring the dynamics of the social brain in teams. The module helps the participants to think about the story they carry about what it means to lead, how to embody leadership, and how to manage emotions and moods in leadership.

Business and pitch readiness


Entrepreneurship is about learning, pivoting and failing up. As entrepreneurship is an iterative process, the participants will gain the understanding that all outputs need to continually be worked on as they launch, learn and grow – there are no final products. Entrepreneurship is a contact sport.

Frequently asked questions

What is the BiPP ?

The Biodiversity Partners Program (BiPP) is a project-based learning and training programme that blends the most recent research about biodiversity regeneration and nature-based solutions and innovative practices related to managing a project in a complex world. This acceleration programme provides practical support to the conceptualisation and refinement of pro-nature business or project ideas. It is a six-month journey that brings together changemakers from diverse sectors.

Who can apply ?

The BiPP is open to Southern African-based entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs living in Angola, Botswana, Eswatini/Swaziland, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Applicants should have an existing business or project or a good concept of what they want to do, as well as being committed to the duration of the programme - six months - and able to travel to South Africa for the sponsored in-person session.

How much does the BiPP cost?

There is a nominal entry fee of R1 000 to secure your commitment. If you are unable to meet this amount please contact us. All costs for the week in South Africa are covered, including flights, accommodation and meals.

When does the BiPP start?

The programme starts on 24 April and the final pitch event is on 6 October 2023.

What are the criteria upon which I will be selected?

Candidates will be selected based on their application, motivation, and the impact on biodiversity restoration and the potential in terms of innovation and the potential impact for society of its project. The potential of scalability and replicability of the project are also part of the criterion upon which the jury will assess each application.

What are you referring to as an innovative project or pro-nature project?

The Biodiversity Partners Program aims to support the emergence and acceleration of new regenerative practices on biodiversity in a wide spectrum of sectors. We understand innovative and pro nature projects as projects that:
- Do not simply focus on the conservation of nature, but encompass a much deeper ambition in order to bring together human development and biodiversity restoration.
- Establish a new method or practice that improve biodiversity considerations substantially in a given context.

When will the selection be announced ?

All applicants will be notified by email by end-March 2023.

In terms of personal time and time management, how is the program organised?

Each module has 8 hours of online contact time. Total time for online modules is 64 hours. There will also be some reading and short assignments to complete. Phase 3, which is in-person, is a week session (7 days) plus two days travelling time.

What documents do I have to prepare for the applications?

You will need to upload a CV along with your application and can upload other documents or videos or images as supporting evidence of your work. You can also upload a video that you make that describes your business or project and why you are keen to participate in the BiPP.

Who selects the participants?

A jury comprised of representatives of the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Sustainability Institute and its associates will review all applications and select the finalists.

Any questions ?

Contact us